Zimbabwe Human Rights
Human Rights Concerns
After a referendum poll ratified a new constitution with overwhelming support, Zimbabweans are expected to soon return to the polls to vote in new presidential and parliamentary elections. This election is slated to occur sometime between July and October of this year. It is yet to be determined exactly when, but there is no confusion on this issue: the election must be without violence and in compliance with appropriate national and international standards.
The 2008 elections in Zimbabwe were marred with high levels of political violence. Amnesty International documented killings, torture and disappearances. Political opposition members, civil society and human rights defenders were particularly targeted. Amnesty International is concerned such individuals will again be specifically targeted for abuse. Since September 2012, nearly every single civil society organization of note in Zimbabwe working on civil, political and human rights issues has had their offices raided, or leadership arrested, or both.
Security sectors reforms are urgently needed in Zimbabwe; however President Mugabe’s party ZANU-PF retains control of these government sectors under the negotiated government of national unity. Thus far, ZANU-PF has been resistant to change and continues to utilize the police, justice department and security sector to intimidate and harass those perceived as opponents. Without security sector reform, concerns of large levels of violence associated with any election remain.
Amnesty International continues to monitor incidents of forced eviction in Zimbabwe, as well as the human rights violations occurring as a result of these displacements. In one informal settlement outside the capital Harare, Amnesty International documented the deaths of infants due to inadequate warmth and sanitation facilities. This needless loss of life caused by poor government policies must be addressed immediately by the government. Additionally, a recent report documented an estimated 220,000 children experienced a disruption to their education as a result of 2005’s Operation Murambatsvina, when the Zimbabwe government displaced 700,000 people.